Project: Emergency leaking shower repair Northern Beaches

emergency shower leak repairs
We were recently called to repair a very serious leaking shower problem at a unit on the Northern Beaches, Sydney.

In our estimate, the shower in this ground floor unit had probably been leaking for a few years. The unit was approximately 25 years old and didn’t have substrate waterproofing installed in the shower.  Then, when the old tile grout cracked and failed, this allowed water to seep through to the timber frame as there wasn’t an adequate or secondary waterproofing membrane to stop it.

emergency shower leak repairs

Could this shower leak have been prevented?

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for owners of old properties to ascertain whether shower waterproofing was adequate when the building was built, or during a subsequent bathroom renovation.

Typically unit bathroom leaks are detected when water seeps through to a downstairs or adjacent unit.  This unit was located on the ground floor therefore complaints from other residents wouldn’t have been a factor in detecting the problem.  It was only the strong damp smell that alerted the owner to the shower leak.

How we fixed the problem, preventing water damage from occurring again.

Unfortunately, had the leaking shower problem been detected earlier, we probably could have rectified the waterproofing issue without having to remove or replace tiles.

In this instance, the problem was too advanced and we had to undertake quite extensive waterproofing remedial work, as follows:

  • Existing floor, substrate and first row wall tiles were removed
  • Sand & cement topping applied
  • Waterproofing to Australian Standards completed, and
  • The area was retiled.

With the new substrate and waterproofing complete water cannot penetrate and cause damage in the future.

The complexity of this waterproofing repair and the expertise we applied in solving the problem, is a timely warning to Do It Yourselfers who sometimes opt to fix a leaking shower themselves. It is important to note that constant water penetration anywhere within the home can cause structural problems that can be expensive to rectify.  Typically, the longer it occurs the worse the problem becomes. Silicon products used to “plug” gaps, seal joints and repair cracks are usually only a temporary fix and should be monitored to ensure the seal doesn’t break down.

By hiring a professional waterproofing, such as the team at Drip Dry Shower Repairs and Waterproofing, we can find the source of problem and rectify the issue to prevent damage now and into the future. In fact, we are so confident in our waterproofing expertise that we offer a 15 year guarantee.


For fast shower leak fixes, waterproofing and tile repairs, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help 24/7.


Signs you may have a waterproofing problem

  • Smell : If you can smell mildew then this is usually due to dampness caused by a leak and is rotting timber and wall materials.
  • Walls : Water damage can cause the wall material to swell and contract causing walls to warp.
  • Skirting boards : Swollen skirting boards are a typical sign that water is penetrating behind the wall. You may also notice skirting board paint peeling or discolouring.
  • Stains : Water damage will create visible stains on walls.
  • Bubbling paint : Moisture commonly causes paint to bubble as the water prevents the paint from adhering to the wall.
  • Tile grout : Tile grout may become crumbly and disintegrate due to constant moisture. Due to this, tiles may even start coming off the walls.
  • Doors : Water causes timber to swell and contract. You may notice doors become stuck and are harder to open and close.
  • Silicone : Silicon products used to “plug” gaps, seal joints and repair cracks are usually only a temporary fix. Deteriorating or mouldy silicone can be a sign that your shower is leaking.

Reasons why showers start to leak.

There are several reasons why your shower may be leaking. Firstly, it’s important to identify the cause of the problem so it can be fixed quickly and cost effectively. Below we have listed common signs that you may have a leak in your shower or elsewhere around the home.

BUILDING MOVEMENT : The ground on which our homes are built is moving all the time. Although this movement is very subtle and usually unnoticeable, it causes the structures build upon the ground (i.e. our homes) to move too.  As these structures shift due to ground movement, joints and corners around the home can crack, floors may become uneven and walls no longer square. This movement can cause joints in the shower to shift too causing cracks in the tile grout, the waterproofing seals to break down and sealant to deteriorate.  Sometimes these cracks may be so small you may not even notice them yet they are wide enough for water to penetrate.

GAPS : Over time materials used to build our homes may shrink and swell. In most instances this is normal. Sometimes, materials may deteriorate or degrade simply due to their age. This movement can also cause cracks and subtle changes in your home’s structure. As above, these changes can appear in the bathroom and shower causing the same problems as listed above, usually exacerbating the problem as materials break down further due to constant water damage.

PLUMBING : With pipes running behind walls it can be hard to ascertain that a problem is occurring until obvious signs of water leaks and damage appear (see list below). If plumbing joints become loose and subsequently start leaking than water damage will undoubtedly start occurring.

WATERPROOFING : Some homeowners are of the impression that tiles and grout are what provides the waterproofing in a shower. This is not true and is a dangerous assumption. Tiles do not provide sufficient waterproofing – far from it.  Correct waterproofing is the application of a special membrane that is applied below the tiles and the backing board that the tiles are affixed to. If a suitable waterproofing membrane is not applied, is not applied correctly during the shower installation or it gets a hole in it, then water can penetrate through the membrane into structural areas of the home causing significant problems.

CLEANING : In some instances a waterproofing agent may have been applied to a shower to assist in the prevention (or further prevention if problems have already occurred) of water penetration. Harsh cleaning products can wear away this liquid waterproofing agent and causing degradation of this additional membrane.

WATERPROOFING MATERIALS : To save money and, in same cases due to a lack of waterproofing expertise, some tradespeople and home owners may use inferior and inadequate waterproofing products when renovating their bathroom or in an attempt to fix waterproofing problems that may have occurred.  The use of inferior waterproofing materials or incorrect products, while it saves money initially can actually be a lot more costly if the waterproofing material breaks down. It also gives home owners a false sense of security.

TILING : While tiles are not an adequate waterproofing solution alone, they are part of the waterproofing process. If tiles are not set properly, start to crack or the grout starts to break down, this can cause water to penetrate to the backing board behind.  A coat of sealer can be applied to tiles however this is usually not a long term solutions (see “cleaning” above).

drip dry showers waterproofing

Drip Dry Shower Repairs and Waterproofing offers a fast, reliable and affordable service that stops leaking showers and wet area waterproofing problems in their tracks.

We are fully licensed waterproofing professionals who specialise in the repair and waterproofing of showers, baths and all wet areas around the home including bathrooms, laundries and kitchens. Additionally, we offer a complete shower restoration service that includes removing existing tiles, waterproofing and retiling the area leaving your shower looking as good as new.

In the vast majority of cases, we can fix your leaking shower without removing any tiles. This can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, as you don’t have to replace any tiles. It also ensures you’re back enjoying trouble-free showering quickly.

We use only quality materials and our workmanship exceeds the Australian Standard requirements.  Over the past 25+ years, we have built a solid reputation based on excellent quality and exceptional service.  In fact, we are so confident in our shower leak repairs and waterproofing services that we offer a 15 year guarantee.

We service Sydney’s Northern Beaches, North Shore and North Sydney areas, 24 hours / 7 days, and are compliant in:

  • legislation and industry requirements.
  • verified ABN and trading names with ASIC.
  • validated insurances and licences.
  • safety, environment, organisational and financial management systems.
  • Strata and Real Estate listing agencies who monitor and ensure contractors have the right safety systems, qualifications and insurances to work on your sites and projects.

For fast shower leak fixes, waterproofing and tile repairs, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help 24/7.